RAMP TOWER OPENS AT SEA-TAC AIRPORT
Contractor will control movement of aircraft while taxiing near terminal
(Seattle)— Control of aircraft taxiing near the terminal at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will be handled from a new facility starting April 13. After a competitive bidding process the Port of Seattle has hired Robinson Aviation of Fairfax, Va to operate the new facility in the former FAA control tower at Sea-Tac.
Controllers from Robinson will manage arriving aircraft as they taxi to and park at their assigned gates, and departing aircraft as they push back from gates and taxi to runways. Once taxiing aircraft are well away from the airport terminal, they will be under the control of the FAA Air Traffic Control Tower. The industry term for such an operation is a “ramp tower.”
“Setting up a ramp tower will save airlines and travelers a great deal of time by efficiently managing the movement of airplanes on the ground,” said Mark Reis, managing director of aviation for the Port. “And in the aviation business, time is money.”
The ramp tower will operate in Sea-Tac’s former FAA control tower, located above the airport’s main terminal building. In April 2004, the FAA Air Traffic Control operation was moved to the new tower north of the terminal.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure every square foot of this airport is productive for our airline customers. This is yet another example of all that we’re doing to reduce costs for airlines at Sea-Tac,” Reis said.
The former tower was renovated and upgraded following the Nisqually Earthquake of 2001. It will now withstand an earthquake of magnitude 9.0. Being located above the airport’s main terminal, controllers will have an unobstructed view of the ramp areas around the concourses and satellites.
Value of the three-year contract is $3,675,000, and the cost to convert the tower was approximately $1.3 million.